Proposed Rule Could Cost Libraries

Missouri’s Secretary of State has proposed a new administrative rule that would require libraries to have additional, state certified, written policies for minors or risk losing state funds.

The Joplin Public Library has always, and will continue to be, an advocate for our community’s children. We value parental oversight and encourage parents and guardians to be involved in everything their children read, see, and hear.

Our collection development policy delegates the selection of Library materials to the Collection Development Librarian and, under their direction, to those members of the staff who are qualified by their education, training, and experience. This includes Library materials for minors, and the decision of which materials are age-appropriate.

Our collection policy is approved by the Library’s Board of Trustees, which allows these decisions to be a local matter, rather than overseen by the state. We remain sensitive to any amount of censorship, or restriction on people’s freedom to read. Whether a material is age-appropriate for an individual child is up to the discretion of their parent or guardian, not the state of Missouri. We encourage users of the Library to study the rule for themselves, and encourage them to share their views with elected officials. A 30-day window for public input opened November 15. You can submit comments in the following ways:

By email to comments@sos.mo.gov. Type the proposed rule number, 15 CSR 30-200.015, in the subject field.

By mail to Missouri Secretary of State, P.O. Box 1767, Jefferson City, MO 65102.

This Secretary of State has always been very supportive of libraries in the state of Missouri. We are hoping that public comments will bring reconsideration of this rule because of the potential widespread ramifications for libraries and the families they serve.